Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Moncton, too!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pet photos with Santa

We took the cats today for "Pet Photos with Santa", a fundraiser by the Fredericton SPCA in cooperation with local garden center and all-around good corporate citizens Green Village.

We've been doing this now for too many years for us to remember. Not since Veronica was a kitten (she's 11 now), but certainly for 7 or 8 years. Every year, we're completely astonished at how utterly sanguine the cats are. The place is chaotic - dozens of volunteers millilng around, dozens of other folks there for photos with large (and small) dogs, cats, ferrets, lizards, rodents, and you name it. Cats (due to their nature not being very good at this kind of thing) seem to be in relatively short supply, and all the SPCA volunteers demand to see them and talk to them in - and out - of their carriers.

Everyone tells us how well-socialized our cats are. They're completely comfortable with the vet, with the SPCA volunteers, with all the animals at the Photos with Santa. Yet these are pretty much the only times they're exposed to strangers. Our home is very quiet. We don't entertain at home (although we're sociable people). The cats aren't exposed to strangers (except on a very rare basis), dogs, other cats (also on a very rare basis), or kids. Yet nothing - nothing - seems to faze them.

We're kind of at a loss to explain it. Neither had a great start in life - Veronica was found in a box on the side of the road by a truck driver - most of her litter siblings were already dead. She was mobile and apparently coming and going from the box. For her first year with us, she would start the day by sticking her nose under ours. We wondered if she was checking to see if we were still breathing. Mojo was part of a litter left on the doorstep of the SPCA, so he had a somewhat less traumatic start to life.

Their vet said to Mojo once, while he was interacting with her joyously, "You can't imagine that anyone in the world would want to do you harm, can you?"

Maybe that's it. It'd be nice to think that's it.



Friday, November 20, 2009

That's us. Suspicious.

epic fail pictures
see more Epic Fails



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Web 2.0 Fail

I watched a documentary tonight on the CBC called "Up Against the Wall". It was about how, since 9/11, a number of countries have erected physical walls with the intention of stopping migrants from the developing world from crossing into their countries. (Examples were the US/Mexico wall; the walls built in Spain to stop migrants from crossing from Morocco into the EU; and the wall Israel is constructing between Palestinian and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories.)

Very informative about the laws of unintended consequenses and, I thought, a very useful documentary to share with my co-workers, who constantly seek to keep abreast of developments in the area of migration and immigration policy and practices. So I went to the related CBC website and sought to find out where I could find a way to order a copy of the doc from the producers, "Stormy Night Productions", to add to our library.

And got this message: "You must have a minimum of Flash 5 installed to view this site."

To quote Jerry Seinfeld, "Aw. That's a shame."

Does the production company know how many people they're locking out, and how many sales they're losing, because their gee-whiz website development assholes are fixated on offering only the latest gee-whiz thing?

Who knows. I know they lost one sale today, and I know that I am heartily sick of the recent trend of not including low-tech versions of websites for people on dial-up, or people who haven't downloaded the latest version of Flash, or Quicktime. Do these web whizzes even understand that thousands of government or corporate users can't install new software because they need permission from IT to do so?

Anyway, no sharing of this very worthy documentary with my team. Too bad.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Saturday, November 07, 2009

You aren't paranoid if they're really out to get you.

I had intended to get the H1N1 flu vaccination as soon as I was able. Not being part of one of the priority groups, I had anticipated that I'd have to wait two weeks or so after the initial rollout, when they'd start vaccinating the general public.

Except that the deployment of the vaccine in New Brunswick, as in most locations across Canada, has been a ridiculous hot mess. People not part of the priority groups, like parents of kids taken for vaccination, and just members of the general public who ignored the priority group designation and lined up, got vaccinated. Then, last week, we got the news that we were going to get far less of the vaccine than had been anticipated because Glaxo-Smith Kline, the sole manufacturer of the vaccine for Canada, had some kind of production issues. That led to dozens of clinics for priority group members being closed outright in Fredericton, Saint John, and Moncton.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be such a concern - most people are recovering from relatively mild cases of H1N1 and if I got sick, I got sick. But we're planning on traveling before Christmas, and suddenly the prospect of getting H1N1 just before a trip we've put a significant amount of money down on is genuinely alarming.

I'm now getting downright paranoid about getting infected... obsessively using hand sanitizers that are everywhere in public spaces, and carrying a bottle in my purse for frequent touch-ups. There's one under the elevator button on the ground floor at work, and I suddenly thought, "Eww! How many people touch that button every day?" (Sanitize, sanitize.) I had to visit our IT professional last week and found myself horrified that she was coughing. "I'm sorry," she said, "this started out as just a headcold." What the hell did that mean? What was it turning into? I found myself sitting back as far as I could in the chair across from her desk. I also sidled away from my boss at a lunchtime meeting in our boardroom because he was sitting with a box of tissues in front of him - until I realized he was using them as napkins to clean his fingers while eating a sandwich.

Every person I encounter now is perceived as a potential carrier, a ticking time-bomb of potential FLU GERMS. I'm becoming an H1N1 hypochondriac.

Well, if being a temporary loony hypochondriac keeps me healthy until we take our trip, maybe that's a good thing. H1N1 is real, and it's here. But I don't really like assessing every person who sits next to me for symptoms.

I'll be glad when this is over. It will be over - right?


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tony's Music Box Halloween Guitar Smash-a-thon

The Halloween Guitar Smash-a-thon held by our local independent music store, Tony's Music Box.

Now you know why we patronize this place.

Lessons learned: Acoustic guitars smash very satisfyingly. Hard-bodies, on the other hand, tend to be weapons of amp destruction.

Unless you're smashing them against a brick wall. Then they smash real good.



I took this photo of a house I pass on my frequent trips to Miramichi. It's in Doaktown - about halfway between Fredericton and the 'chi.

I have no idea who built it, but it fascinates me. Such an elaborate setup. Was it built this complex, or did later owners build the additions and add the gingerbread?

It seems to be some kind of enterprise these days. There is a sign over the front door I couldn't read.

Another oddity in a region full of them.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Teh Maeking of a Halloween Fambly Portrait

(Yes, it's from The Engineer's Guide to Cats guy. Who else?)